Thursday, December 27, 2007

Anti-Defamation League releases report on extreme rhetoric in immigration debate

The Anti-Defamation League has released a new report (PDF) on the extreme rhetoric being used by groups that have been quoted in the mainstream media as "anti-illegal immigration" organizations. From the press release:
Purveyors of this extremist rhetoric use stereotypes and outright bigotry to target immigrants and hold them responsible for numerous societal ills.

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL)... has become increasingly concerned about the virulent anti-immigrant and anti-Hispanic rhetoric employed by a handful of groups that have positioned themselves as legitimate, mainstream advocates against illegal immigration in America.

Unlike the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazis, who make no attempt to hide their racism and bigotry, these anti-immigrant groups often use more subtle language to demonize immigrants and foreigners. They are frequently quoted in the media, have been called to testify before Congress, and often hold meetings with lawmakers and other public figures. However, under the guise of warning people about the impact of illegal immigration, these anti-immigrant groups often invoke the same dehumanizing, racist stereotypes as hate groups.

A closer look at the public record reveals that some of these supposedly mainstream organizations have disturbing links to, or relationships with, extremists in the anti-immigration movement. Often identified in the media or their mission statements as "anti-illegal immigration advocacy groups," they attempt to distort the debate over immigration by fomenting fear and spreading unfounded propaganda through the use of several key tactics:

* Describing immigrants as "third world invaders," who come to America to destroy our heritage, "colonize" the country and attack our "way of life." This charge is used against Hispanics, Asians and other people of color.

* Using terminology that describes immigrants as part of "hordes" that "swarm" over the border. This dehumanizing language has become common.

* Portraying immigrants as carriers of diseases like leprosy, tuberculosis, Chagas disease (a potentially fatal parasitic disease), dengue fever, polio, malaria.

* Depicting immigrants as criminals, murderers, rapists, terrorists, and a danger to children and families.

* Propagating conspiracy theories about an alleged secret "reconquista" plot by Mexican immigrants to create a "greater Mexico" by seizing seven states in the American Southwest that once belonged to Mexico.

Andy in Harrisburg

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20 Comments:

Blogger James said...

So we have the ADL following the ACLU's lead. Who will be next to raise their voice against this wave of hate?

(And how much of that rhetoric have we seen 'anonymously' here)

11:35 AM  
Anonymous Alan said...

There are many legitimate, reasonable and humane positions that may be taken on this issue. Unfortunitly, the issue has been hijacked by extreamists who have found a "socially acceptable" way to give expression to their hatred. Hopefully the ADL and the ACLU will help to expose and deligitimize these extreamists. Once they loose influence, a reasonable, humane and enforcable policy can be put into place.

3:50 PM  
Anonymous Alan said...

In one extreamist anti-immigrant discussion group I visited, the commentator mentioned that the biggest proplem they faced was the tendency of the American public to consider immegrants as "individual human beings".

Hummmm....

4:17 PM  
Anonymous Jorge said...

The only problem with the ACLU and ADL's arguments is that the people they are targeting as bigots have a legal basis for their argument. Illegal aliens are not immigrants as defined by our laws, anymore than are visa overstayer visitors to Disney World. I know that may seem to be a minor technicality, but the difference between legal and illegal is that the former have been granted permission under our laws to become legal residents, while the latter didn't bother to ask. I find it reprehensible that this distinction is conveniently overlooked in their libelous declarations against the anti-illegal immigration groups.

6:26 PM  
Anonymous Alan said...

Jorg, The complaint against the people and organizations in the report is not the legal basis for the immigration and naturalization laws. It is the fact that they call Hispanic children "Dogs" to their faces. Then brag about it.

This sort of behavior is inexcusable.

10:20 PM  
Anonymous Jorge said...

"Propagating conspiracy theories about an alleged secret "reconquista" plot by Mexican immigrants to create a "greater Mexico" by seizing seven states in the American Southwest that once belonged to Mexico."

Actually, there is some basis for this, as there are actually anti-anglos hate groups that do express such a strategay. Check out http://www.aztlan.net/homeland.htm

11:33 AM  
Anonymous Jose said...

* Using terminology that describes immigrants as part of "hordes" that "swarm" over the border. This dehumanizing language has become common.

Would it make a big difference it they had said tens of thousands per year? The outcome would have been inconsequentially less alarming to public.

* Depicting immigrants as criminals, murderers, rapists, terrorists, and a danger to children and families.

These claims are not without foundation. Most of these groups use crime statistics in their arguments for control of the border. It cannot be refuted that, along with people who just enter for work, there are violent MS-13 gang members, fugitives from justice, drug dealers, rapists and murderers? The papers are full of drunk driving incidents by illegal aliens and other crimes. It's an unfortunate true statistic that young Hispanic men have a much higher DWI rate than is the average for others in this country.

I've seen the other side disingenuousness as well. Take the crime rate issue. I hear a lot of advocates and mainstream media cite studies that indicate that immigrants commit crimes at lower rates that people who have been born here. In the next breath they translate that to mean that the undocumented crime rate is no different. They have no basis to assign such equivilency. The legal immigrant is given a background check and those found guilty of anti-social behavior are not permitted to enter the U.S. In this regard, they probably would make better than average citizens. However, the undocumented immigrant population is not only comprised of such people, it inevitably has fugitives from justice, MS-13 gang members, drug dealers and users, and potential rapists, murderers and thieves are among them. Those who would continue to have us believe that the undocumented are flawless would have us dispense with common sense.

Advocates of the undocumented are evidently guilty of misapplication of data themselves. I hardly think that their opponents are so stupid as to be unaware of this. Such claims can only further sour the environment for debate, so they'd do well to clean up their act.

12:03 PM  
Anonymous Alan said...

Well, Jorge, Since I wouldn't want to link anyone, let alone you, to the creeps in this report, so I wasn't going to mention the references in your previous posts to "the plan". However, since you brought it up…

If you are interested in furthering the conspiratorial "paranoid style" of American politics, just pick your paranoid fantasy and you can easily find some "ethnic studies" ideologue to provide the confirming ethno-nationalistic counter-fantasy.

One that got some attention was Ward Churchill, who called the employees in the Twin Towers “little Eichmanns”. He fantasizes about establishing worldwide ethno-religious-tribalism.

You might want to look into the paranoid style of American politics… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Paranoid_Style_in_American_Politics. Hopefully you won’t be looking into a mirror.

12:29 PM  
Anonymous Alan said...

Jose, You might want to read the report, rather than just the "executive summary" to get a good idea of how some of these groups are demonizing economic migrants.

Treating migrants as "individual human beings" and granting them basic human rights and dignity is detrimental to the cause of nativist / xenophobic extremists. Characterizing migrants as "hordes" that "swarm" over the border objectifies and dehumanizes them. Historically, we all know who benefits from of such dehumanization, and that is especially true of the ADF.

It is true that if they had said "tens of thousands per year" it would be less alarming to the public. It would also be more factual and level headed. A factual, level headed discussion might even lead to a reasonable, enforceable policy that respects social, economic and geo-political reality.

Alarming the public and creating ethnic hatred are not going to lead to that solution. But that might be the point…

12:56 PM  
Anonymous Cincinattus said...

"A factual, level headed discussion might even lead to a reasonable, enforceable policy that respects social, economic and geo-political reality."

The reference to reasonable, enforceable policy that respects social, economic and geo-political reality part is where anti-illegal immigration groups differ in their approach from those who would concede to foreign gate crashers.

Your approach would require concessions of our national sovereignty, something that many Americans would not agree to. For example, you would require us to admit that somehow we have to accept the status quo for the presence of these illegal aliens, admitting that they took the correct course of action in crossing our borders illicitly. Also, there is no guarantee that a guest worker program would stem the flow of illegal immigrants. South and Central America would still generate tens of thousands of poor and unskilled labor that might not heed our borders. After all, if a new amnesty is given, and a guest worker program established, these new people would just expect that the same would be done for them. The anti-illegal immigrant solution is to engage state level police authorities in assisting ICE and enforce workplace laws. Judging by the hysterical reaction of illegal alien advocates, this approach has by all appearances, a chance of actually working. I remember them saying that illegal aliens would not leave, but this appears not to be true.

While employers of illegal aliens, many of which undoubtedly know very well that their employees are subject to deporation, would be inconvenienced, it should be of no consequence to the public. They violated the laws and should suffer from it. I find it amusing that so many of you supporters of illegal immigration are trying to convince the rest of the public that our nation needs these people so much and are so eager to use the arguments of the very dishonest people who've been hiring illegal aliens. The farmers and others discredited themeselves by the very act of breaking the law. If they had wished to avoid the risk that they now face, they could have worked with Congress to establish a guest worker programs that satisfied their needs. The fact that they didn't makes the people of this country suspect that they had ulterior motives in failing to do so. This country can easily adjust to the loss of the 10 or so million illegal aliens from Mexico. Anyway, the comming recession will result in millions of unemployed.

The first to go in a recession are low skilled workers, which means Mexicans and others from Central American countries. Couple that with the grass roots actions in Arizona, Oklahoma, and other states of a similar mind, a reverse migration is inevitiable. Soon won't be having a debate on illegal immigration, as the states will do the job the Federal government won't do. I understand that Mexico is taking action to improve its economic conditions and that should add to the reverse of illegal immigration, but we'll just have to wait and see.

I'm not sure what you mean by geopolitical. We are a sovereign nation and as such will maintain our borders and government separate from all others. Mexico is a corrupt nation which we should keep at arms length, at least until it reforms itself.

Realities are within our capacity to control and are what we make them. I believe you would advocate giving into the new reality because it serves your socialist view point of transnationalism that some would call globalism. We've already seen rejection of this concept in the form of social unrest in many nations, so I believe that the success of globalism is tenuous at best.

1:27 PM  
Anonymous Alan said...

RE: ...your socialist view point...

That's the first time I've ever been accused of being a socialist becuase I might support free trade and individual economic freedom.

3:00 PM  
Anonymous Alan said...

came across and interesting note in the a Washington Post article entitled "For Republicans, Contest's Hallmark Is Immigration"

" 'This is the most volatile issue I have measured since bussing in 1972,' said Peter D. Hart, a Democratic pollster... Hart compared the issue of immigration to the treaty returning to Panama the Panama Canal, which drew a visceral response in conservative circles... "

Nobody today cares very much about the Panama Canal, so it is hard to remember what a big issue this was back then. It struck the same themes that we see on display here: Fear for "national sovereignty", feelings of loss of empire and privilege, and the same xenophobic, ethnic mistrust. The Canal went back to Panama, however, and it turned out it wasn't the end of the world.

"Visceral response" is, of course, a euphemism for "pig headed obstinence and irrational, self-destructive hysteria".

2:34 PM  
Anonymous David said...

Question for Alan, Andy, et al: What is plan B if an amnesty/guest worker program fails to stem the flow of illegl aliens? Year after year, the South and Central Americas will continue to generate millions of illiterate and unskilled poor, far beyond the capacity of this country to employ. What is your plan to keep them out and how do you handle those who are arrested when they cross the border. After all, these people may take the proposed amnesty as U.S. lack of resolve to enforcing its immigration laws, and come anyway. I've heard a lot of you people claim that a fence won't work, and asking people nicely to stop crossing hasn't worked, so I'd like to hear your plan to stop illegal immigration if the so-called "comprehensive immigration reform" plan fails.

I know how you people feel sympathetic about the 200 illegal aliens who died in the desert last year. However, I'd like to know how you feel about the 1,000 or more citizens who were killed by Mexican drunk drivers and criminals who crossed the border along with the so-called innocent who crossed just to work. How would you explain your opposition to a fence and deportations to the families of the injured or deceased or the rest of the American people for that matter?

8:59 PM  
Anonymous Alan said...

RE: What is plan B if an amnesty/guest worker program fails to stem the flow of illegal aliens?

Just a clarification - I am not an advocate of any particular immigration policy prescription, such as an amnesty or a guest worker program. I am an advocate for human rights and dignity and for political realism in whatever policies are adopted. I expect Americans to debate issues based on facts, actual consequences and without demonizing and degrading people simply because they are from a different place, of a different color, or speak a different language, than what is expected. The immigration debate is not living up these basic expectations.

I don’t speak for the ACLU, but it is my understanding that they, also, are advocates for human rights, human dignity, and the civil rights granted to all by the constitution. They are NOT advocates for any particular immigration policy, as long as it respects human rights. I'm a proud, card-carrying member of the ACLU. I fully support the ACLU in its effort to put an end to the efforts of local politicians to exploit this issue and pander to racial fears with sloppy, half-assed, and discriminatory laws. I am also glad the ACLU is keeping their eye on detention facilities such as Hutto. I also welcome their exposes of the alarmist and hysterical "hard-core" anti-immigration activists. Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty. And I mean Liberty for ALL.

Now, what is plan B? To be honest with you, I am not all that concerned about the flow of illegal aliens. Overall, I don’t think this is a big, important issue. In fact, I think that if the economic migrants were coming from, say, Canada, and were basically a good facsimile of English-speaking, white, Anglo-Saxon protestants, nobody would even notice. Just my opinion.

Here are some thoughts on a guest worker program. Current immigration policies are based quite a bit on “family reconciliation” rather than economic need. Thus the legal immigration that takes place does not necessary fit the economic demand, especially at the low end of the market, and therefore does not do much to mitigate illegal flow. Current policy is also based on the assumption that the immigrant wants to become an American citizen and spend the rest of his life here. That may be true for “family reconciliation” immigrants, but is probably not so for the majority of the economic migrants. The majority of these folks just want to earn a few bucks picking lettuce and then go back home to their family. A guest worker program for “low end” labor (we already have one for high-end special needs) would help us to address the disparity between our low-end economic needs and the actual composition of the immigrant flow. It would also make it possible for the guest worker to come and go without making a big commitment to the “American Dream”. That, in turn, might reduce their over-all numbers since they would not HAVE to stay for fear of not being able to come back next season. And it would allow regulation of wages, collection of taxes, etc., since these workers would not be part of a “black market.” Over all, I think it would be a good idea.

2:28 PM  
Anonymous Alan said...

RE: …Mexican drunk drivers… opposition to a fence…

Drunk drivers on the road? BUILD A BIG FENCE!
High cost of health care? BUILD A BIG FENCE!
Political assignations in Pakistan? BUILD A BIG FENCE!

This is what is known as a “visceral response.” See above.

3:12 PM  
Anonymous david said...

Just as I thought, no plan B, just hot air.

Other countries successfully control their sovereign borders with fences. It's evident now that the part of the fence that's been constructed has made it more costly to the illegal alien and has markedly reduced crossings. A well designed fence will work, and that's exactly why the Mexican government and the advocates of illegal aliens hate the idea.

"This is what is known as a “visceral response.” See above."

Visceral means from the gut, so what's wrong with that? It's well documented that we do have criminals and drunk drivers in this country that wouldn't be here if we had control of our borders. You deride the fence, but had a fence been in place, we would have excluded tens of thousands of bad actors that have injured citizens. Frankly, I care more for this nation than I do for the feelings of the Mexican government.

Give us an alternative idea that stands a chance of working, because so far you haven't told me anything that would solve the problem. You're just full of nasty crticism without a clue as to what to do. I can find thousands of nothing but talk people, but few that have any answers.

5:36 PM  
Anonymous Alan said...

RE: A well designed fence will work....

The "BIG FENCE" seems like something a stoner would come up with to me.

Stoner 1: "Hay Man (sucks on joint), I know, let's, like, build a BIG fence!"

Stoner 2: "Wow Man! A BIG FRIGGIN (sucks on joint) Wow!"

6:33 PM  
Anonymous Alan said...

Main Entry: vis·cer·al
Pronunciation: \vi-sə-rəl, vis-rəl\
Function: adjective
Date: 1575
1 : felt in or as if in the viscera : deep (a visceral conviction)
2 : not intellectual : instinctive unreasoning (visceral drives)
3 : dealing with crude or elemental emotions : earthy (a visceral novel)
4 : of, relating to, or located on or among the viscera : splanchnic (visceral organs)

I had in mind definition #2 and #3.

By the way, "hot air" means "realistic, thoughtful, and fully considered." Look it up!

6:44 PM  
Anonymous David said...

Well, allan, you stupid ass, maybe you should have chosen a less ambiguous word, as visceral can have positive connotations, as in the context of patriotism, i.e. the feeling of patriotism is a visceral emotion. You had to look the definition up in a dictionary to discover how it could be confused. I find your smugness and some of those other so-called bigot skewers odious.

8:09 PM  
Blogger James said...

David:

I find your smugness and some of those other so-called bigot skewers odious.


"The man is guilty--for he doth protest too much"?

"How it inflames a bigot when he is forced to drag out his dark convictions"

As for "Patriotism"--seems that's one of the tools that these "extremists" have hijacked.

1:07 PM  

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